a smiling woman with curly hair
by
Revel HQ
,
October 14, 2021

How She Revels: Gina Nicole Brown

There is only this Gina Nicole Brown. And she is an artist.‍

For as long as I can remember, I’d been capturing quips and humorous thoughts. When I was 46, I tried my hand at stand-up comedy and despite its painful vulnerability, I’ll likely do it until the laughs stop coming.

Age: 54
Location: DC mostly for now, but NYC pretty damn often

What do you do for work?

That’s a very DC question. I’m going to switch it up a bit and answer this question, “What do you do for fun, and do you make a living out of it?” And I’ll tell you what I used to do for work later. Today and while I still have breath in me, I’m a storyteller. I’m an artist. I’m a creative. I’m an actor. I’m a comedian. More specifically, I use TV, Film, and Stage to bring words and characters to life. And yes indeed, I make a living out of it. I grew up loving the arts with a family that wholly supported the arts, but we were also encouraged to follow a more traditional route for work. I have an MBA in Business Economics and worked in the corporate world for 30 years. For as long as I can remember, I’d been capturing quips and humorous thoughts. When I was 46, I tried my hand at stand-up comedy and despite its painful vulnerability, I’ll likely do it until the laughs stop coming. I was laid off from my corporate job in March of 2019 at the age of 52 (who does that to a divorced mom of two young girls?) and decided I would try to make a go of it in the creative space. By September of that same year, I was on a billboard in Times Square for NYC Emergency Management and The Ad Council. The campaign is still running, and the billboards continue to be up and all over New York City. Since that campaign, I’ve done several commercials, films, and other creative projects. I love being in the mix of a story coming together whether it’s to sell a product, service, or to share a perspective. Story is how we connect to others. The transition to making a living out of what I love to do versus what brought in a steady paycheck, wasn’t an easy one (and while I have representation now, I did it all alone). I used up all of my savings, investments, and during the pandemic, it was brutal. I questioned my decision over and over again, but ultimately, there was no turning back. Several months into the pandemic, I received an artist grant which was the answer to the question I’d quietly asked myself. You need to stay the course. There is only this Gina Nicole Brown. And she is an artist.

What’s your go-to method for recharging/de-stressing?

Music. It’s always been music. I studied piano and cello, and music speaks to me in a way that people can’t. Downbeats and upbeats represent life’s rhythm. And now I listen to music while I walk or cook which are two other ways I recharge and destress.

Tell us something surprising about yourself?

I was given up at birth and I lived in a foster home until I was nearly 5. There is something about early childhood rejection that stays with you. In my case, it’s created a built-in resistance that helps me push through the world’s “no.” For me, there is always a way through something or around something to achieve what I want. It may not happen overnight, but with tenacity, I can create my desired outcome.

What do you love most about living in the DC area?

DC has a blend of people, seasons, cultures, and lifestyles - I love them all. It’s an open melting pot that also happens to be this country’s seat of government. Easy access to policymakers is helpful and as an election judge and a former county commissioner, I’ve had the opportunity to partake in some very hopeful discussions and programs towards equality of rights and justice across the board.
 

You have a wonderfully distinctive style. What’s your favorite thing in your closet these days?

My boots. I have several pairs of boots which I wear all year round with dresses, shorts, pants – my boots have zero limits (sort of my metaphor for life). One pair is particularly unique because they were nearly specially made and by that, I mean, there were only ever a few made. And while they are insanely gorgeous, they are equally as comfortable, and I can walk for miles in them.

Any words of wisdom?

Find a way to walk through closed doors if on the other side, is what you really want to do. And don’t let anybody tell you that your age is an impediment – especially. We can get in our own way. Don’t let that happen.

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